Masonry Workers

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Masonry workers use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build masonry structures.

Work Environment: The work is physically demanding because masons lift heavy materials and often must stand, kneel, and bend for long periods. Poor weather conditions may reduce work activity because masons usually work outdoors. Most masons work full time.

How to Become One: Most masons have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn either through an apprenticeship program or on the job.

Salary: The median annual wage for masonry workers is $46,500.

Job Outlook: Employment of masonry workers is projected to decline 3 percent over the next ten years.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of masonry workers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a masonry worker with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Masonry Worker Jobs

  • Experienced Concrete and Masonry Worker - S&F Construction, Inc. - Johnston, RI

    SEEKING AN INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCED IN CONCRETE AND MASONRY WORK. They would assist in forming, finishing, etc. Being bilingual would be a highly preferred skill for the position. Full time position

  • Social Worker - Virginia Mason - Seattle, WA

    Join us, and find out how many ways Virginia Mason offers you the chance to focus on what really ... Working knowledge of individual and family dynamics and the ability to perform psycho/social ...

  • Therapist - LCSW or Psychologist - Union City - Masons of California - Union City, CA

    At the Masonic Center for Youth and Families, we are seeking someone with great experience who ... Must have experience working with the aging population * Experience doing family therapy, group ...

See all Masonry Worker jobs

What Masonry Workers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Masonry workers, also known as masons, use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build walls, walkways, fences, and other masonry structures.

Duties of Masonry Workers

Masons typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints or drawings to calculate materials needed
  • Lay out patterns, forms, or foundations according to plans
  • Break or cut materials to required size
  • Mix mortar or grout and spread it onto a slab or foundation
  • Clean excess mortar with trowels and other hand tools
  • Construct corners with a corner pole or by building a corner pyramid
  • Align structures vertically and horizontally, using levels and plumbs
  • Clean and polish surfaces with hand or power tools
  • Fill expansion joints with the appropriate caulking materials

Masonry materials are some of the most common and durable materials used in construction. Brick, block, and stone structures can last for hundreds of years. Concrete—a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water—is the foundation for everything from decorative patios and floors to huge dams or miles of roadways.

The following are examples of types of masons:

Brickmasons and blockmasons—often called bricklayers—build and repair walls, floors, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures with brick, terra cotta, precast masonry panels, concrete block, and other masonry materials. Pointing, cleaning, and caulking workers are brickmasons who repair brickwork, particularly on older structures from which mortar has come loose. Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in installing firebrick, gunite, castables, and refractory tile in high-temperature boilers, furnaces, cupolas, ladles, and soaking pits in industrial establishments.

Cement masons and concrete finishers place and finish concrete. They may color concrete surfaces, expose aggregate (small stones) in walls and sidewalks, or make concrete beams, columns, and panels. Throughout the process of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete, cement masons monitor how the wind, heat, or cold affects the curing of the concrete. They use their knowledge of the characteristics of concrete to determine what is happening to it and take measures to prevent defects. Some small jobs, such as constructing sidewalks, may require the use of a supportive wire mesh called lath. On larger jobs, such as constructing building foundations, reinforcing iron and rebar workers install the reinforcing mesh.

Stonemasons build stone walls, as well as set stone exteriors and floors. They work with two types of stone: natural-cut stone, such as marble, granite, and limestone; and artificial stone, made from concrete, marble chips, or other masonry materials. Using a special hammer or a diamond-blade saw, workers cut stone to make various shapes and sizes. Some stonemasons specialize in setting marble, which is similar to setting large pieces of stone.

Terrazzo workers and finishers, also known as terrazzo masons, create decorative walkways, floors, patios, and panels. Much of the preliminary work of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete for terrazzo is similar to that of cement masons. Epoxy terrazzo requires less base preparation and is significantly thinner when completed. Terrazzo workers create decorative finishes by blending fine marble chips into the epoxy, resin, or cement, which is often colored. Once the terrazzo is thoroughly set, workers correct any depressions or imperfections with a grinder to create a smooth, uniform finish. Terrazzo workers also install decorative toppings or polishing compounds to new or existing concrete.

Work Environment for Masonry Workers[About this section] [To Top]

Masonry workers hold about 302,100 jobs. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up masonry workers is distributed as follows:

Cement masons and concrete finishers 200,400
Brickmasons and blockmasons 81,900
Stonemasons 16,800
Terrazzo workers and finishers 3,000

The largest employers of masonry workers are as follows:

Poured concrete foundation and structure contractors 27%
Masonry contractors 21%
Construction of buildings 11%
Self-employed workers 10%
Heavy and civil engineering construction 7%

As with many other construction occupations, the work is fast-paced and strenuous. Masons often lift heavy materials and stand, kneel, and bend for long periods. The work, either indoors or outdoors, may be in areas that are muddy, dusty, or dirty. Inclement weather can affect masonry work, but some masonry work, such as setting up floors, may not be affected.

Injuries and Illnesses for Masonry Workers

Brickmasons and blockmasons risk injury on the job. Cuts are common, as are injuries occurring from falls and being struck by objects. To avoid injury, workers wear protective gear such as hardhats, safety glasses, high-visibility vests, and harnesses and other apparel to prevent falls.

Masonry Worker Work Schedules

Most masons work full time, and some work overtime to meet construction deadlines. Masons work mostly outdoors, so inclement weather may affect their schedules. Terrazzo masons may need to work hours that differ from a regular business schedule, to avoid disrupting normal operations.

How to Become a Masonry Worker[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Masonry Workers near you!

Most masons have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn either through an apprenticeship program or on the job.

Education for Masonry Workers

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most masons.

Many technical schools offer programs in masonry. These programs operate both independently and in conjunction with apprenticeship training. Some people take courses before being hired, and some take them later as part of on-the-job training.

Masonry Worker Training

Most masons learn the trade through apprenticeships and on the job, working with experienced masons.

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Apprentices learn construction basics, such as blueprint reading; mathematics for measurement; building code requirements; and safety and first-aid practices. After completing an apprenticeship program, masons are considered journey workers and are able to perform tasks on their own.

The Home Builders Institute and the International Masonry Institute offer pre-apprenticeship training programs for eight construction trades, including masonry.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Masonry Workers

Some workers start out working as construction laborers and helpers before becoming a mason.

Important Qualities for Masonry Workers

Color vision. Terrazzo workers need to be able to distinguish between small variations in color when setting terrazzo patterns in order to produce the best looking finish.

Dexterity. Masons repeatedly handle bricks, stones, and other materials and must place bricks and materials with precision.

Hand–eye coordination. Masons apply smooth, even layers of mortar; set bricks; and remove any excess before the mortar hardens.

Physical stamina. Brickmasons must keep a steady pace while setting bricks. Although no individual brick is extremely heavy, the constant lifting can be tiring.

Physical strength. Workers should be strong enough to lift more than 50 pounds. They carry heavy tools, equipment, and other materials, such as bags of mortar and grout.

Unafraid of heights. Masons often work on scaffolding, so they should be comfortable working at heights.

Masonry Worker Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for masonry workers is $46,500. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,250.

Median annual wages for masonry workers are as follows:

Brickmasons and blockmasons $53,100
Terrazzo workers and finishers $52,180
Cement masons and concrete finishers $44,810
Stonemasons $43,280

The median annual wages for masonry workers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Masonry contractors $51,100
Construction of buildings $49,840
Poured concrete foundation and structure contractors $44,610
Heavy and civil engineering construction $44,590

Although most masons work full time, some work more hours to meet construction deadlines. Masonry work is done mostly outdoors, so masons may have to stop work during inclement weather. Terrazzo masons may need to work at night when businesses are closed.

Job Outlook for Masonry Workers[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of masonry workers is projected to decline 3 percent over the next ten years.

The employment of masons is linked to the overall demand for new building and road construction. Masonry, such as brick and stone, is still popular in both interior and exterior applications, but changes in products and installation practices are expected to decrease the need for masons. For example, fewer workers are needed to install innovations such as thin bricks, which allow buildings to have the look of brick construction at a lower cost. Additionally, the increased use of prefabricated panels will reduce the demand for most masonry workers. These panels are created offsite by either contractors or manufacturers in climate-protected environments, but fewer masons are needed to install the panels at the construction site.

Employment of terrazzo workers and finishers is expected to decline due to the increased installation of polished concrete, which will shift some work from terrazzo workers to cement masons and concrete finishers.

Job Prospects for Masonry Workers

Despite declining employment, about 24,800 openings for masonry workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Overall job prospects should be good as construction activity continues to grow to meet the demand for new buildings and roads. Workers with construction experience should have the best opportunities.

As with many other construction workers, employment of masons is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, during peak periods of building activity some areas may require additional number of these workers.

Employment projections data for Masonry Workers, 2019-29
Occupational Title Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29
Percent Numeric
Masonry workers 302,100 292,100 -3 -10,000
  Brickmasons and blockmasons 81,900 76,700 -6 -5,200
  Stonemasons 16,800 16,300 -3 -500
  Cement masons and concrete finishers 200,400 196,400 -2 -3,900
  Terrazzo workers and finishers 3,000 2,700 -10 -300

A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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